Companies face stiff fines for ignoring asbestos regulations
April 05, 2011
Businesses in Britain are continuing to ignore health and safety legislation regarding the management of asbestos, despite courts handing out large fines to those that break the rules.
In February, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced it would carry out inspections at construction sites across the country in a bid to encourage safe working practices, especially with regard to the handling of asbestos. Despite the fact that the substance is now banned as a building material in the UK, properties built or refurbished before 2000 may contain asbestos, and where appropriate, asbestos surveys need to be carried out prior to any refurbishment work being carried out.
Despite the dangers being faced by workmen on sites across the UK, a number of employers are still risking heavy fines by not taking the danger seriously. Last week two companies were fined a total of £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of over £20,000 after breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, and admitting exposing employees and members of the public to asbestos.
Speaking following the court case, HSE inspector Dominic Ellis, said: “Asbestos-related diseases are responsible for around 4,000 deaths a year. Working on or near damaged asbestos-containing materials, or breathing in high levels of asbestos fibres, which may be many hundreds of times that of environmental levels, could increase your chances of getting an asbestos-related disease.”
Safety products manufacturer, Safetyshop, has urged companies to avoid risking heavy fines by sticking to the HSE’s guidelines, following the appropriate legislation, and using items such as asbestos safety signs and respiratory face masks where appropriate.
Sara Bank, Product Manager at Safetyshop, said: “Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment and businesses must work to mitigate the risks being faced by their employees. Safety products that can help protect people from dangerous substances such as asbestos are easy to acquire and inexpensive, especially when compared to a fine that can run to hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
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Safetyshop became a trading division of Stockport-based Brady Corporation Ltd following an acquisition in 2005. The company was established in 1970 and through various acquisitions of its own, Safetyshop has gone on to become the leading safety products manufacturer in the UK, producing a range of 18,000 products from eye protection to protective clothing at its 34,000 square foot UK facility in Cheshire.
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